Liverpool are hoping to make Romeo Lavia from Southampton their next summer signing but won’t be done there.
Liverpool are creeping closer to a deal to sign Romeo Lavia from Southampton. The Reds are expected to secure an agreement with the Saints to sign the highly-rated defensive midfielder having had a £37million opening bid rejected. An improved offer is expected and Lavia would be the club’s third summer signing after Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister. But there could yet be several more newcomers and Express Sport looks at four potential arrivals that may still come after the Belgian…
Liverpool will have spent in the region of £165m, including add-ons, if Lavia joins for Southampton’s full asking price of £50m. But Jurgen Klopp will actually have lost five midfielders once Fabinho follows Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita out of the door as expected.
It is thought signing Lavia is not linked to Fabinho’s departure – meaning another signing once the Brazilian departs, provided the protracted process does not collapse, is very possible. Klopp will also have Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones, Stefan Bajcetic and Harvey Elliott as options for 2023-24 but in case of injuries, landing one more midfielder may make sense at the right price point.
It is though unclear whether they would pursue a box-to-box type player – like Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Manu Kone or Lille’s Kephren Thuram – or another more defensive-minded asset like Fluminense’s Andre, Crystal Palace star Cheick Doucoure or Joao Palhinha from Fulham. They have a lengthy shortlist of targets.
Joel Matip and Joe Gomez’s questionable form over the last 12 months currently leaves Klopp heavily reliant on Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate staying fit for much of the season. But a left-sided centre-back is clearly in the club’s thoughts given their interest in Chelsea’s Levi Colwill.
Having switched to a 3-2-2-3 formation at the back end of last year, Andy Robertson struggled to adjust to becoming a central defender in the new set-up, unlike fellow full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold who thrived in becoming a deep-lying midfielder. And so an extra option at the back appears a necessity, particularly with starting left-sider Van Dijk now 32 and coming in off the back of an underwhelming campaign.
Signing Colwill may be unrealistic due to his price and Chelsea’s refusal to sell, but there are other names – Sporting’s Goncalo Inaco, Lyon’s Castello Lukeba and Bayer Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapie – who could be cheaper and more attainable.
Klopp has made it clear he has no ambition to sell Caoimhin Kelleher. The Irishman has been a dependable No 2 for him over the past four seasons and can expect to be the club’s Europa League goalkeeper to afford Alisson some rest.
But it remains possible that a club come in before September 1 with an offer too good for the player, or the club, to refuse. Wolves have been tipped to try and sign the 24-year-old if Jose Sa leaves. Kelleher would command a fee of at least £20m.
And if he does leave, it is likely the Reds would need a new shot-stopper with Adrian firmly third choice. Ron-Robert Zieler of Bundesliga 2 side Hannover 96 would be the prime candidate given the 34-year-old qualifies as homegrown like Kelleher, has experience of the Premier League and could be snared for a nominal fee.
Calvin Ramsay only joined last summer but after an injury-hit debut season, it was decided the best thing for his development is a year on loan at Preston in the Championship. With Milner – who occasionally filled in at full-back – also gone, Liverpool are short on depth at right-back. Joe Gomez can operate as a traditional right-back there but does not appear to have the tools to step into midfield within the new system.
Conor Bradley could be the main deputy to Alexander-Arnold but after a season where he amassed 53 appearances at Bolton Wanderers in League One, it is unclear if he is willing to settle for being a benchwarmer. A decision on the 20-year-old’s future should come towards the end of pre-season.
The 13-cap Northern Ireland international can play more similarly to Alexander-Arnold as a defender-cum-midfielder and so should get a year to prove himself a capable squad player if he wants to stay. However if Bradley is sent on loan or even sold, a replacement will need to be brought in.